By John Williams

In his nationwide e-book Award–winning novel Augustus, John Williams exposed the secrets and techniques of historic Rome. With Butcher’s Crossing, his fiercely clever, fantastically written western, Williams dismantles the myths of contemporary America.

It is the 1870s, and should Andrews, fired up by means of Emerson to hunt “an unique relation to nature,” drops out of Harvard and heads west. He washes up in Butcher’s Crossing, a small Kansas city at the outskirts of nowhere. Butcher’s Crossing is filled with stressed males searching for how one can earn money and how one can waste it. sooner than lengthy Andrews moves up a friendship with one in every of them, a guy who regales Andrews with stories of massive herds of buffalo, prepared for the taking, hidden away in a stunning valley deep within the Colorado Rockies. He convinces Andrews to affix in an excursion to trace the animals down. the adventure out is grueling, yet on the finish is a spot of paradisal richness. as soon as there, besides the fact that, the 3 males abandon themselves to an orgy of slaughter, so stuck up in killing buffalo that they lose all feel of time. iciness quickly overtakes them: they're snowed in. subsequent spring, half-insane with cabin fever, chilly, and starvation, they stagger again to Butcher’s Crossing to find an international as irremediably replaced as they've been.

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The events challenge the protagonists to recognise themselves within a theological and Christological narrative of being. Furthermore, three of the primary authors considered here all reveal a recognisably Augustinian theology, centred on the human condition as fallen. This condition, however, is not static, but rather a condition which stands somewhere along a journey of ‘becoming’.  Augustine and Aquinas. As theological beings, created by God in the image of God, we contain the potential to become the fullest theological versions of ourselves.

Such a tension is only resolved if God and being are understood to be the same. 49 Man’s perversion, then, is to turn away from ‘life’ and towards nihilism. Of the authors discussed in these pages, Arthur Machen in particular is conscious of the nihilistic void as a human possibility, and is joined by M. R. James and Sheridan Le Fanu in turning to Christian orthodoxy as a spiritual safeguard against it. These authors anticipate the school of Radical Orthodoxy in their assertion that ‘any alternative configuration perforce reserves a territory independent of God.

In various ways, the characters rely on the voices of Christian orthodoxy for guidance towards redemption from their desperate positions. The outcome for each protagonist is tightly bound to their ability to recognise themselves as fallen and desperate beings. While the alternative for Stevenson’s reader may be disappointment or dissatisfaction, the alternative for the protagonists of the upcoming tales is a nihilistic abyss.  L. 42 Varnado’s study took an important step in halting the spread of Otto’s concept as a generic literary term and maintaining its philosophical nuances.

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